Siete Leyes

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Political divisions of Mexico as altered by Las Siete Leyes Political divisions of Mexico 1836 (location map scheme).svg
Political divisions of Mexico as altered by Las Siete Leyes

Las Siete Leyes (Spanish:  [las ˈsjete ˈleʝes] , or Seven Laws were a series of constitutional changes that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of Mexico, ending the first federal period and creating a unitary republic, the Central Republic. [1] Formalized under President Antonio López de Santa Anna on 15 December 1835, they were enacted in 1836. They were intended to centralize and strengthen the national government. The aim of the previous constitution was to create a political system that would emulate the success of the United States, but after a decade of political turmoil, economic stagnation, and threats and actual foreign invasion, conservatives concluded that a better path for Mexico was centralized power. The Siete Leyes were revised in 1843, making them more workable, but also placing power entirely in the hands of Santa Anna. [2] In 1846, the 1824 Constitution was restored and the second federal period began.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

First Mexican Republic 1824-1864 federal republic in Central America

The First Mexican Republic, known also as the First Federal Republic, was a federated republic and nation-state officially designated the United Mexican States. "Independence transformed Mexico from Spain's largest and most prosperous colony to a sovereign nation suffering economic decline and political strife." The First Mexican Republic lasted from 1824 to 1835, when conservatives under Antonio López de Santa Anna transformed it into a centralized state, the Centralist Republic of Mexico.

Centralist Republic of Mexico unitary political regime established in Mexico in 1835

The Centralist Republic of Mexico, or in the anglophone scholarship, the Central Republic, was officially the Mexican Republic. It was a unitary political regime established in Mexico on October 23, 1835, under a new constitution known as the Seven Laws after the repeal of the federalist Constitution of 1824. Mexican conservatives attributed the political chaos of the federal era to the empowerment of states over the federal government, participation of non-elite men in the political system through universal male suffrage, rebellions, and economic stagnation to the weakness of the federal government. Conservative elites saw the solution to the problem as abolishing the federal system and creating a centralized one, reminiscent of the colonial era. Federalism had given a range of powers to Mexican states, their legislatures and municipalities. It was favored by the states outside the center of Mexico. Those favoring a centralized state were the conservative urban elites. Mexican conservatives saw federalism as a failure and Mexico not prepared for such a system. They considered the ideal form of government as a centralized, administrative republic, with the states losing power to the central government. Conservatives with the support of the Mexican army created the Central Republic, which lasted eleven years, 1835–46. The unitary regime was formally established on December 30, 1836, with the enactment of the Siete Leyes. However, the Seven Laws proved unworkable and were abandoned four and a half years later, and replaced by a military dictatorship under Antonio López de Santa Anna. On August 22, 1846, acting President José Mariano Salas issued the decree that restored the Constitution of 1824 and, with this, the return to federalism.

  1. The 15 articles of the first law granted citizenship to those who could read Spanish and had an annual income of 100 pesos, except for domestic workers, who did not have the right to vote.
  2. The second law allowed the President to close Congress and suppress the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. Military officers were not allowed to assume this office.
  3. The 58 articles of the third law established a bicameral Congress of Deputies and Senators, elected by governmental organs. Deputies had four-year terms; Senators were elected for six years.
  4. The 34 articles of the fourth law specified that the Supreme Court, the Senate of Mexico, and the Meeting of Ministers each nominate three candidates, and the lower house of the legislature would select from those nine candidates the President and Vice-president,
  5. The fifth law had an 11-member Supreme Court elected in the same manner as the President and Vice-President.
  6. The 31 articles of the sixth Law replaced the federal republic's nominally-sovereign "states" with centralized "departments", fashioned after the French model, whose governors and legislators were designated by the President.
  7. The seventh law prohibited reverting to the pre-reform laws for six years.

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References

  1. Felipe Tena Ramírez, Leyes fundamentales de México, 1808-1971. pp. 202-248.
  2. Michael P. Costeloe, "Siete Leyes (1836)" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture , vol. 4, p. 25. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.